Woah Amarillo Farmhouse Double IPA by Magnify Brewing

Woah Amarillo Farmhouse Double IPA by Magnify Brewing, Fairfield, NJ

(C) 2016 popsonhops

Tasting: May 4, 2016
Style: Farmhouse Imperial IPA
Beer #: 927
ABV: 8.0%

Woah Amarillo

After sampling the Magnify line up a year ago at the brewery, I was left with a so-so impression. I guess I’m not the only one as members of The New Jersey Craft Beer Society have a field day on their Facebook page. The memes and trade offers are hysterical. You might say that they deserve some slack because they are a new brewery but there are a number of breweries that hit it out of the park in a short period of time (Other Half, Trillium come to mind). That’s some rarified air and I’m willing to hopefully watch the development of this brewery. More than one friend has told me after they agreed to a new hop contract there has been some improvement in their offerings. This can came from one of those friends.

Woah Amarillo is part of a hop series of releases each featuring a different hop. There is (amongst others), Woah Equinox, Woah Citra and Woah Eldorado. Some of the notable beers that feature Amarillo hops: Three Floyds Gumball Head – 87 points, Trillium Sleeper Street – 93 points and Kern River Just Outstanding IPA – 94 points

From Wikipedia a description of Amarillo hops:
The resultant aroma is of medium strength and very distinct.[1]
The aroma is described as flowery, spicy and citrus-like with a distinct orange bouquet.
The hop is good for flavor and aroma
It can also be used for bittering effectively because of the low cohumulone content

Blossom aroma and a quick wisp of citrus on the first sip. I get some fruit juice sweetness, roasted caramel and spicy pepper but it spirals into a sharp and puckering bitterness in a matter of moments. I find the key to balancing this beer is to hold it on your tastebuds for a few extra moments. Maybe brighter days are ahead for this young brewery, I’ll certainly check in on them again. 88 points.

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Vine Shine, Low Visibility and more Magnify Brewing

Beers # 828 – 831

Magnify Brewing Company

On Saturday, we planned to swap our Friday finds and on the way I stopped at a new brewery in Fairfield, NJ called Magnify Brewing. I think they hold some promise but considering the current state of my beer fridge, nothing in their everyday lineup was worthy of a growler or squealer fill.

I did have a sample flight of their offerings. It didn’t take long to figure out that Vine Shine, Low Visibility, Black Wheat and their Search Saison were all mediocre at best. They might cut it with the craft beer newbies but to me there are way better options on our local shelves. I’d say the Black Wheat probably topped out the group at 85 points with some nice roasted characteristics but not much depth. The Vine Shine IPA was oddly strong with yeast and not much hop, the Low Visibility was watery and nondescript. The Search Saison had some decent white wine grape flavor but here again no complexity.

Considering the state of the tri-state’s beer world – there’s no place for mediocre. Once they establish a base set of beer, let’s see where they go. I will certainly check back as it is not fair to judge after a being open for just a couple of months.

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Hill Farmstead Vera Mae, Arthur and Florence

Hill Farmstead

Hill Farmstead

© 2015 popsonhops

Every summer, my family stays at a bed and breakfast at a working dairy farm in Pennsylvania. The experience is idyllic and therapeutic. You can see first hand how farms have moved from generation to generation and you can clearly see the transition of knowledge from generation to generation. I enjoy soaking in their interactions. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of the grandkids be disrespectful and I’ve never heard an adult say “Not now, I’m busy”. I take a lot of lessons home with me every year.

Hill Farmstead Growler Label (well said).

© 2015 popsonhops

While I don’t know Shaun Hill or his family, I picture the same multi-generational farm existence in northern Vermont at the Hill Farmstead. One of the things I really like is that Shaun Hill pays homage to the eight generations of his family by naming a quite a few of his beers after these forbearers. I like that these bottles make the introduction and explain how they are related to Shaun.

Arthur
Tasting: October 9, 2015
Style: Farmhouse Saison
Beer #: 824
ABV:6.0%

Hill Farmstead Arthur

© popsonhops

While farmhouse saison is not one of my go to styles, I did discover that I do like Hill Farmstead’s take on the style. What’s different? I find most saisons are dominated with a yeasty banana clove flavor while Hill Farmstead has a tart lemon that overrides and compliments a barnyard funk, hay and grass. It’s like Hill Farmstead is on their own saison-style island. Solid and very drinkable – 92 points.

Vera Mae
Tasting: August 22, 2015
Style: Saison
Beer #: 825
ABV: 6%

Hill Farmstead Vera Mae

© popsonhops

Shared a bottle of Vera Mae with another couple at the lake. They both love IPA so I wasn’t sure how the mild sour experience would go over but overall, I think it was a hit. General comments were of lemon, crispness, sourness, funky. To me, it really hit the spot on a somewhat warm day. 92 points.

Florence
Tasting: October 16, 2015
Style: Farmhouse Saison
Beer #: 826
ABV: 5%

Hill Farmstead Florence

© 2015 popsonhops

Just finished splitting some logs – not the manly way with an axe but rather sitting with a log splitter. Nonetheless, worked up a sweat lugging the machine back to the garage. This beer is totally refreshing. Sour, crisp, lemon. The subtleties between each of these beers is lost on me. The best I can judge is that Vera Mae was the strongest in flavor followed by Arthur then Florence but all with similar flavor profiles. I liked this one just the same — 92 points.

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Dorothy by Hill Farmstead

Tasting: June 12, 2015
Style: Saison
Beer # 761

Dorothy by Hill Farmstead

I’ve mentioned Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist and Lawson’s Finest Liquids as the pieces of the Vermont triumvirate of holy grail brewers. Until yesterday, Hill Farmstead was the only brewery of the three that had any of their offering escape my palate. As I hoisted a glass of this saison to my lips, not only did I cross another off my list but I solved what had become a three week old mystery.

You see, it was my impression that unless you are in northern Vermont and happen to be at the brewery or within shouting distance of the brewery, you would not see Hill Farmstead beer for sale anywhere. The first leg of the mystery began in Pennsylvania over Memorial Day weekend. A local shop was hosting a Hill Farmstead event on the Tuesday following Memorial Day. If you ask my wife, she’ll tell you that I almost drove off the road as she read me the Facebook post.

Fast forward to yesterday after work. I swing through my two favorite places in Rockland County and at my second stop I see Dorothy by Hill Farmstead on the tap list. How the hell is Hill Farmstead beer getting around? I asked the server and he cleared it up. It seems that these were “festival” kegs. As he explained it, Hill Farmstead may go to a tasting event locally and they may not tap all of their inventory – so a local distributor might acquire these kegs. Anyway, I was happy to be holding Dorothy by Hill Farmstead in my hands and I was somewhat relieved to understand how the seemingly impossible came to fruition. Hopefully, I’ll see some of their other offerings by this route in the future.

Admittedly, a saison isn’t really in my wheelhouse but having one from the best is certainly the way to find an appreciation. Some saison, including those by Hill Farmstead, are described to have a funk or barnyard flavor. Having spent a few vacations at a dairy farm – I get it – a potpourri of straw and animal stank. The funkiness comes from a strain of yeast – brettanomyces (Greek for British fungus) — more familiarly known as “brett”. In other instances, brewers use bacteria to produce this unique flavor.

Dorothy by Hill Farmstead certainly has some of this funky straw/stank combo, clove but balanced out nicely with some potent and bright tangerine rind hop flavors. My first sip was a pleasant mango but that dissipated and the overall flavor turns mostly tart. It’s a wheat based beer and some stale cracker comes through. Dorothy by Hill Farmstead finishes with a little spicy black pepper. I did enjoy this beer – 91 points.

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